Weiner's circle of influence stretches to Chicago area

June 16, 2011 (CHICAGO)

In this Intelligence Report: The congressman's contributors in Illinois and the local politicians Weiner supported.

Anthony D. Weiner's circle of influence and support stretched far beyond New York and Washington. Federal campaign records show that about a quarter of Weiner's contributions last year were from outside metro New York, with a healthy portion coming from the Chicago area. Several Illinois politicians have been among those to receive donations from Weiner's political fund.

Weiner's decision to quit Congress leaves behind a network of deep-pocket supporters in Chicago, along with Illinois and Indiana candidates who have benefitted from Weiner's political largesse. His campaign committee, Friends of Weiner, has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to local congressional candidates over the past decade.

Federal election records reveal Weiner donations to several from Illinois and Indiana in primaries and general election contests, including:

  • Former north suburban Congress member Melissa Bean;
  • ex-Rock Island Congressman Phil Hare;
  • and one time west suburban congressman Bill Foster, who says he has donated to charity a $1,000 donation Weiner gave him in 2008. Foster plans to run again.
  • Current Northwest Indiana Congressman Joe Donnelly has turned over $5,000 to charity. That's the amount Friends of Weiner gave him since 2011. Donnelly told the I-Team that Weiner's actions "have disgraced the Congress."

Before the morals scandal that brought down the hard-hitting congressman, Weiner had significant financial backing from Chicago.

Weiner's federal election filings show thousands of dollars in contributions from well-known Chicago entrepreneur Jay Pritzker, Deerfield businessman Melvin Kupperman, and Chicago economist Kristy Kitzmiller.

Weiner's support also stretched to the Hollywood crowd. A party by movie star Matt Damon and Anthony scheduled for next Monday at Weiner's brother's Manhattan restaurant has been cancelled.

During his seven terms in Congress, Anthony Weiner's support for hand-picked candidates in Chicago and elsewhere resulted in a stable of supporters for his legislation and positions. And his financial backing in the Chicago area, in South Florida and in Southern California was to be the seed money for Weiner's next political goal, mayor of New York.

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